by Andrew Walden
The latest audit of Kauai County departments shows that sick leave and vacation days “not properly supported by leave application forms” are being handed out to union workers between 10% and 30% of the time. The audit, conducted by the embattled PKF Pacific firm, surveyed records of only 60 Kauai County employees.
This is the latest of many examples of Hawaii government employees giving each other paid time off, sick leave and overtime pay without any accountability.
Auditors presented their results to the Kauai County Council Wednesday, January 27. Here are the highlights:
From Audit of County Hiring Practices-- Exec Summary pgs 4-5
Finding 1: The County did not consistently adhere to Hawaii Revised Statutes ("HRS") and County policies when hiring and conducting promotions, transfers and reallocations.
Finding 2: The amount of supporting documentation maintained by DPS is inconsistent and could expose the County to the risk of non-compliance with bargaining unit agreements, internal policy and HRS.
Finding 3: A lack of controls surrounding certain procedures subjects the County to fraud risk.
From Single Audit Report 2015, pg 31 -- Compile Vacation and Sick Leave Records Properly - Significant Deficiency
Condition: The County’s various departments prepare a summary leave schedule to compute its accrued compensated absences liability balance and reports its liability to the Department of Finance. The liability was based on the balance of earned hours per individual leave records multiplied by each employee’s hourly salary rate. Departmental summary leave schedules are supported by employee leave logs. During our current year audit, we noted the following:
- Elderly Affairs - 3 instances (out of 10 samples) where vacation or sick leave hours per the employee’s leave log were not properly supported by leave application forms.
- Planning - 2 instances (out of 10 samples) where vacation or sick leave hours per the employee’s leave log were not properly supported by leave application forms.
- Transportation - 2 instances (out of 10 samples) where vacation or sick leave hours per the employee’s leave log were not properly supported by leave application forms.
- Public Works - 1 instance (out of 10 samples) where vacation or sick leave hours per the employee’s leave log were not properly supported by leave application forms.
Criteria: Summary leave schedules provided by the various departments should be supported by employee leave logs, of which leave taken should be documented with leave application forms approved by both the employee taking leave and the proper authorization approver.
Cause: Each department in the County uses a different manual process to maintain and report the vacation and sick leave records which resulted in errors in the amount of hours and dollars reported to the Department of Finance.
Effect: The lack of adequate internal controls over vacation and sick leave records could result in an over or understatement of liabilities of the County of Kaua'i.
The County should provide adequate oversight over the vacation and sick leave balances being reported against the personnel and payroll records to ensure accuracy and completeness before reporting the balance to the Department of Finance. The County should implement a standardized process and schedule to track employees’ leave hours. Management should also provide additional guidance to employees tasked with the facilitation of these functions to ensure the timely reconciliation and recording of leave applications to employee logs.